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U.S. WNT Set For Japan in Algarve Cup on Monday

The U.S. squares off against Japan on Monday in the 2012 Algarve Cup in a rematch of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final.

© Thomas Eisenhuth/isiphotos.com

U.S. Women

IN THE IMAGE: Goalkeeper Hope Solo, Amy LePeilbet (6) and the U.S. Women’s National Team face Japan for the first time since the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on Monday at the Algarve Cup.

U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Japan
Algarve Cup

Estadio Algarve; Faro, Portugal

March 4, 2012

In the first meeting of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists since last summer’s dramatic end to the tournament in Germany, the U.S. Women’s National Team takes on Japan on Monday, March 5, in the third Group B match of the 2012 Algarve Cup. The U.S. and Japan are both 2-0-0 (six points) through the first two matches days of the group stage, but the USA holds a significant plus-six goal differential to Japan’s plus-three. Therefore, the U.S. can advance to the Algarve Cup final with either a win or a draw against the Japanese. The game kicks off at 9:10 a.m. ET at Estadio Algarve in Faro, Portugal. Fans can follow the game via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. The USA is 8-0-0 for the year and has outscored its opponents 47-2.

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Hope Solo, 18-Nicole Barnhart
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Heather Mitts, 3-Christie Rampone, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 6-Amy LePeilbet, 14-Stephanie Cox, 19-Rachel Buehler, 22-Whitney Engen
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 9-Heather O’Reilly, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe, 16-Lori Lindsey, 17-Tobin Heath
FORWARDS (4): 11-Sydney Leroux, 12-Lauren Cheney, 13-Alex Morgan, 20-Abby Wambach


  • U.S. forward Abby Wambach surpassed three-time World Cup goalkeeper Briana Scurry for 10th all-time in career caps with 174 after the USA’s 2-1 win against Norway on Friday.
  • Wambach has 17 career goals in the Algarve Cup, the most among all USA players. Her goal against Norway on Friday was the 133rd goal of her career. Wambach is two goals behind Portugal’s Carla Couto for the all-time tournament lead.
  • Midfielder Tobin Heath will wear a padded cast on her left wrist entering Monday’s match. During the USA’s 5-0 win against Denmark last Wednesday, Heath suffered a fracture to a small bone in her wrist.
  • Sydney Leroux scored her seventh goal in seven international matches with her game-winner on Friday against Norway. If she manages to get on the field and score against Japan, she will become the first player to score eight times in their first eight WNT caps. She is tied with Brandi Chastain as the only players to score seven times in their first seven WNT caps.
  • The U.S. is ranked No. 1 by FIFA, followed by Germany (No. 2) and Monday’s opponent Japan (No. 3).


  • The U.S. and Japan have played each other 26 previous times, with the USA posting 22-0-4 record. One of those ties included the eventual 3-1 shootout loss to Japan on July 17, 2011, in the FIFA Women’s World Cup after playing to a 2-2 draw through regulation and overtime.
  • The 2011 World Cup Final , played at Frankfurt, Germany, included two different U.S. leads when Alex Morgan notched a 69th-minute goal and Abby Wambach a 104th-minute goal in the first of two 15-minute overtimes. But Japan’s Aya Miyama (80th minute) and Homare Sawa (117th minute) had the answer, and Japan pulled through in the game-ending shootout for its first World Cup crown.
  • The U.S. won its first 13 matches against Japan from 1986 to June of 2000, outscoring Japan by a whopping 54-5 margin during that stretch.
  • The U.S. defeated Japan 2-1 to open the 2011 Algarve Cup on March 2 at Vila Real de San Antonio, Portugal. All of the scoring took place in the first half, with Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe tallying U.S. goals in the seventh and 18th minutes, respectively, and Japan’s Miyama scoring for Japan in the 29th minute on a perfectly-placed free kick.

TWO DOWN: The U.S. opened the Algarve Cup with a 5-0 win against Denmark on Feb. 29. Alex Morgan scored goals in the 21st and 84th minutes, while Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd and Sydney Leroux also netted scores. Against Norway on March 2, Wambach and Leroux provided the USA offense en route to a 2-1 victory. Norway scored three minutes into stoppage time for its lone tally. The goal was the first allowed by U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo this year.

U.S. WNT 2012 Algarve Cup Schedule

2012 Algarve Cup Standings and Schedule

Group B

Feb. 29
United States 5, Denmark 0
Japan 2, Norway 1

March 2
United States 2, Norway 1
Japan 2, Denmark 0

March 5
United States vs. Japan
Norway vs. Denmark

ALGARVE CUP TOURNAMENT FORMAT: Since the expansion to 12 teams in 2002, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows: The teams in Group A and B will compete for the title, as the group winners will play on Wednesday, March 7, in the championship game. The two second-place finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place, while the third-place finishers will play for fifth. The Group C teams will be competing for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the best fourth-place team from Groups A or B for seventh place. The second-place team in Group C will play the worst fourth place team from Groups A or B for ninth place, and the third- and fourth-place finishers in Group C will play each other for 11th place. The venues and kickoff times for the placement matches will not be determined until after the completion of group play.

GROUP A RECAP: Sweden took hold of the goal differential lead in Group A with a four-goal first half en route to a 4-1 victory against Iceland on Friday. Antonia Goransson led the way with two goals, and Sweden improved to 2-0-0 with a plus-four goal difference. Germany also moved to 2-0-0 with a 1-0 victory against China on Friday, the lone goal coming on a Melanie Behringer penalty kick. But with only a plus-two goal difference heading into Monday’s matchup against Sweden, Germany has to earn the victory to win the group. Sweden wins Group A with a victory or a draw.

GROUP B RECAP: The U.S. is in the driver’s seat to win Group B following a 2-1 win against Norway on Friday. The USA has scored the most goals of any team in the tournament so far with seven. (Sweden has the second most with five from two games). Japan has scored twice in both of its games, defeating Norway 2-1 on goals from Yuki Nagasato and Nahomi Kawasumi. Yuika Sugasawa and Shinobu Ohno netted goals for Japan in the 2-0 victory against Denmark. That sets the stage for Monday’s rematch of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which Japan won in a shootout. Japan cannot settle for a draw through regulation this time around, needing a win to take Group B in the Algarve Cup. The U.S. wins the group stage with a victory or a draw.

GROUP C RECAP: Three of the four teams in Group C are in the running for the top spot in group play. On Friday, Wales played Ireland to a scoreless draw and still holds the Group C lead with four points after opening group play with a 1-0 win against Portugal last Wednesday. A victory on Monday against Hungary would give Wales the Group C win. Portugal rebounded from its loss to Wales by routing Hungary 4-0 on Monday. Portugal’s plus-three goal differential is best in the group. Hungary is hanging around despite the Portugal defeat and can win the group stage with a victory over Wales combined with a Portugal draw or loss to Ireland.

Japan Football Association
Founded: 1921 (Joined FIFA in 1929)
Head Coach: Norio Sasaki
FIFA World Ranking: 3
All-Time Algarve Cup Results: 5-1-0
Algarve Cup Finals: 0; Japan took third place in 2011 – the only previous Algarve Cup the team has played in.
Best FIFA World Cup Finish: Champions (2011)
Best Olympics Finish: Quarterfinals (2004)

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Ayumi Kaihori (INAC Leonessa), 12-Miho Fukumoto (Yunogo Belle)
DEFENDERS (7): 2-Yukari Kinga (INAC Leonessa), 3-Azusa Iwashimizu (NTV Beleza), 4-Saki Kumagai (FFC Frankfurt), 5-Aya Sameshima (Montpellier HSC), 13-Rumi Utsugi (Montpellier HSC), 14-Asuna Tanaka (INAC Leonessa), 15-Saori Ariyoshi (NTV Beleza)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi (NTV Beleza), 8-Aya Miyama (Yunogo Belle), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi (INAC Leonessa), 10-Homare Sawa (INAC Leonessa), 16-Kanako Ito (NTV Beleza), 18-Nanase Kiryu (NTV Beleza)
FORWARDS (6): 7-Kozue Ando (FCR 2011 Duisburg), 11-Shinobu Ohno (INAC Leonessa), 17-Yuki Nagasato (FFC Turbine Potsdam), 19-Megumi Takase (INAC Leonessa), 20-Yuika Sugasawa (Albirex Niigata Ladies), 21-Mai Kyokawa (INAC Leonessa)


  • Of the 13 players who were on the pitch during Japan’s 2011 World Cup win against the U.S., 11 are on the Algarve Cup roster. The only two not in attendance are forwards Karina Maruyama and Mana Iwabuchi, who played as subs during that World Cup Final.
  • Homare Sawa was named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year on Jan. 9 after winning the Golden Boot and leading Japan to the World Cup crown. The USA’s Abby Wambach finished third in the voting. Sawa is the career Japan record holder for goals (80) and international appearances (176).
  • Sawa has played in the U.S. for Women’s Professional Soccer’s Washington Freedom from 2009-2010 and the Women’s United Soccer Association’s Atlanta Beat from 2001-2003. Sawa scored the first goal in Beat history.
  • Midfielder Aya Miyama, who had a goal and the first penalty kick during the shootout of Japan’s World Cup win against the U.S. in 2011, played for WPS sides Los Angeles Sol (2009), St. Louis Athletica (2010) and the Atlanta Beat (2010).

On the field for USA:
March 2, 2012 – Estadio Municipal– Lagos, Portugal – Algarve Cup
USA 2        Abby Wambach 51, Sydney Leroux 81
Norway 1  Elise Thorsnes 90+3

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 6-Amy LePeilbet (2-Heather Mitts, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.) (19-Rachel Buehler, 46), 14-Stephanie Cox; 9-Heather O’Reilly (8-Amy Rodriguez, 58), 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 17-Tobin Heath (15-Megan Rapinoe, 46); 13-Alex Morgan (11-Sydney Leroux, 77), 20-Abby Wambach (12-Lauren Cheney, 65)
Subs not used: 5-Kelley O’Hara, 16-Lori Lindsey, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 22-Whitney Engen
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

NOR: 12-Caroline Knutsen; 2-Madeleine Gisk, 5-Toril Akerhaugen, 7-Trine Rønning, 14-Marita Skammelsrud; 4-Ingvild Stensland (capt.), (15-Nora Holstad Berge, 30), 6-Maren Mjelde, 13-Gry Tofte Ims (17-Ingrid Mo Wold, 80); 9-Isabell Herlovsen (19-Emilie Havvi, 83), 10-Lindy Melissa Wiik (20-Caroline Hansen, 65), 18-Cecilie Pedersen (16-Elise Thorsnes, 46)
Subs not used: 1-Ingrid Hjelmseth, 3-Kristine Hegland, 8-Ingvild Isaksen, 11-Leni Larsen Kaurin, 21-Christine Nilsen
Head coach: Eli Landsem

Vs. Japan for the USA:
July 17, 2011 – FIFA Women’s World Cup Stadium – Frankfurt, Germany
Scoring Summary: 1    2  OT1 OT2  F
USA                        0    1   1     0     2 Alex Morgan 69, Abby Wambach 104
Japan                     0    1   0     1     2 Aya Miyama 80, Homare Sawa 117
*Japan wins shootout 3-1

Penalty Shootout Summary:
USA – Shannon Boxx (save), Carli Lloyd (miss), Tobin Heath (save), Abby Wambach (goal)
JPN – Aya Miyama (goal), Yuki Nagasato (save), Mizuho Sakaguchi (goal), Saki Kumagai (goal)

USA: 1-Hope Solo; 11-Ali Krieger, 19-Rachel Buehler, 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 6-Amy LePeilbet; 9-Heather O’Reilly, 7-Shannon Boxx, 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (17-Tobin Heath, 114); 12-Lauren Cheney (13-Alex Morgan, 46); 20-Abby Wambach
Subs not used: 2-Heather Mitts, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 5-Kelley O’Hara, 8-Amy Rodriguez, 14-Stephanie Cox, 16-Lori Lindsey, 18-Nicole Barnhart, 21-Jill Loyden
Head coach: Pia Sundhage

JPN: 21-Ayumi Kaihori; 2-Yukari Kinga, 4-Saki Kumagai, 15-Aya Sameshima; 11-Shinobu Ohno (18-Karina Maruyama, 66; 20-Mana Iwabuchi, 119), 6-Mizuho Sakaguchi, 10-Homare Sawa (capt.), 8-Aya Miyama; 7-Kozue Ando (17-Yuki Nagasato, 66), 9-Nahomi Kawasumi
Subs not used: 1-Nozomi Yamago, 5-Kyoko Yano, 12-Miko Fukumoto, 13-Rumi Utsugi, 14-Megumi Kamionobe, 16-Asuna Tanaka,19-Megumi Takase
Head coach: Norio Sasaki

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